SCOTLAND’S new laws on the licensing of air weapons will take effect next year, the Scottish Government said yesterday.

The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act, which sets out new legislation on air weapons, scrap metal dealing and alcohol licensing, has received Royal Assent.

New rules on the licensing of “sexual entertainment venues” such as lapdancing clubs are also introduced in the Act, with local authorities required to set out their individual policies.

The Act also says that scrap dealers will no longer be able to hand over cash for quantities of scrap metal.

The new legislation will also create new offences of giving or making available alcohol to a child or young person for consumption in a public place.

The principal measure in the Act introduces licensing rules for the estimated 500,000 air weapons in Scotland for which owners previously did not have to hold a licence.

The Scottish Government had vowed to crack down on the misuse of airguns following the death of two-year-old Andrew Morton, who was shot in the head with an airgun in Glasgow in 2005. He was hit in the brain by a pellet from an air rifle fired by Mark Bonini, then 27, who was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Law Society of Scotland and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation were among numerous bodies that opposed the original Bill.

But former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who had brought in the Bill, argued that it was not disproportionate to have licences.

He said at the time: “Every day police and animal welfare groups have to deal with the results of air weapons being misused. As well as causing daily anti-social behaviour and vandalism, they can also cause horrific injuries to wildlife and family pets by those who maliciously target animals.”

Declaring that the air weapons provisions were expected to come into force in 2016, the Scottish Government yesterday issued a statement saying: “A public information campaign before the provisions take effect will provide details on what people affected by the Act need to do, and what the deadlines are for those requirements.”

The new alcohol licensing laws introduced in the Act removes a controversial five-year ban on holding a personal alcohol licence for people who fail to undertake refresher training.

Anyone who had their licence revoked is now eligible to apply to their local licensing board for a new one, provided they meet the other requirements.